Think about the most qualified opportunity you have right now. Chances are you’ve been working with them for several months and there has been much information exchanged back and forth: you’ve been asking questions to understand more completely the challenges they face and providing them with your insight and the necessary information to make the best possible decision for their business.
At this point you wouldn’t:
- Blast them with mediocre marketing
- Ignore them at a networking event
- Refuse to give them the information they want
So why do we do it at the beginning of the marketing relationship?
I think it might have something to do the difference between a list and an individual. A list is an inanimate object. It’s easy to blast a list. We don’t think twice about putting together a script and having someone cold call the list.
But if you know that the list was comprised of individuals who fit the profile of your ideal customer – wouldn’t you behave differently? Wouldn’t your B2B marketing sound and look differently? Instead of cold call number three, or email blast recipient number 11 – if you knew that you were reaching out to Leonard Harris, CFO of Magnificent Manufacturing or Harriet Leonard, VP of Sales at Fortune Professionals – wouldn’t you change your entire approach?
That’s the difference in B2B marketing approach and strategy when you have taken the time to carefully identify your ideal customer. It’s hard work. But once the work is done – you don’t have a nebulous list that you blast away at. You have an identified group of ideal customers.
There are outlines and dimensions to your ideal customer. An outline might be the baseline demographics: C-level executives at professional services organizations between $5 and 10 million in revenue in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico. The dimensions are the softer characteristics (things that list brokers can’t compile lists of – that we usually uncover in discovery) such as particular business challenges, certain predispositions and expectations.
You can’t gloss over the dimensions. In fact, you need to have absolute clarity on those softer characteristics. Why? Because you’ll be using your marketing to attract people with those characteristics and help those without those characteristics disqualify themselves.
Use your website, blog, Twitter account, email, direct mail, conference to attract the ideal customer and deflect the non-ideal customer.
Rather than blast them with lowest common denominator messaging, give prospective ideal customers quality content on your blog that speaks to their challenges. Send your highly qualified ideal prospects direct mail that really helps them; information that helps the make a decision rather than a blast that says you’re the right choice.
Would you ignore these people at a networking event? Of course not. But perhaps are you ignoring them on online platforms. Rethink your activity on social media and follow these highly qualified people on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ social media platforms. As I mention during all of my talks on Social Media, typically you’ll see the level of discourse become more meaningful when the people you see in your stream mean something to you.
Give visitors to your website the information they want. What used to be shared over the telephone or in initial meetings, people prefer to find online. Don’t make the mistake of saving your good stuff for that first meeting. You may never get that first meeting. Don’t limit the information to one or two angles. Make a list of every question you’ve ever been asked in the sales cycle: the answers to those questions are the content for blog posts. Think of every obstacle you’ve faced: competitors offering deep discounts, your internal champion getting resistance from other department heads, etc., all of these topics deserve blog posts and maybe even a white paper. Remember to mix in some videos and don’t forget to showcase input from your customers.
Always remind yourself who you are talking to – if you picture your ideal customer, the inspiration will come more easily than if you picture a list.